August 8, 2011 by Matt Musico
This past week was an exciting one in Major League Baseball; here are what I think are some of the top stories:
A-Rod gambling investigation.
Alex Rodriguez finds himself in controversy again, but this is a more serious offense. Poised to be coming off the Disabled List very soon after getting mid-season surgery, there have been accusations made that Rodriguez had a role in illegal, underground poker games. Bud Selig and the rest of the commissioner’s office has stated that they are looking at these allegations seriously; however, recent reports state that a suspension is not likely for the Yankee 3rd baseman. These games took place back in 2007, but A-Rod was already warned in 2005 by both Selig and the Yankees about his involvement in these games because they didn’t want it to turn into a Pete Rose situation. It’s amazing how some people don’t seem to learn from mistakes the first time around.
Strasburg back in game action for first time.
Baseball’s most exciting young pitcher is finally making his comeback. Steven Strasburg threw 1 2/3 innings for Class A Hagerstown, his first start since having surgery. His rehab start included 31 pitches thrown, 25 for strikes, while giving up three hits and four strikeouts. His velocity was impressive, topping out at 97 MPH. If all goes according to plan, the #1 overall pick in the 2009 draft will make five more rehab starts before being allowed to join the Major League team in September.
Pirates fading in NL Central race.
After surprising all of Major League Baseball with having a record over .500 as the calendar was nearing August, it finally looks like the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Cinderella story is over; the Pirates have fallen 10 games back of the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers and their record has fallen to 54-59 thanks to 9 straight loses and losing 15 of their last 18 games. Clint Hurdle has done a great job in his first year as manager of the Pirates, but it doesn’t look like they will be competing for a playoff spot in the final two months of 2011.
Giants and Phils brawl over the weekend.
The Giants and Phillies had quite an interesting weekend series, which included a bench-clearing brawl on Saturday afternoon. The Phillies continued their winning ways over the first two games of the series, with new acquisition Hunter Pence not experiencing a loss in a Philadelphia uniform since his debut on July 30th. On Sunday, San Francisco called upon Tim Lincecum to salvage the final game of the 3-game set. He did just that, leading the Giants to a 3-1 win and regaining a 0.5 game lead over the Diamondbacks in the NL West.
Michael Young reaches 2,000 career hits.
It seems that during each off-season, Michael Young is either on the trading block or the Rangers organization asks him to move to a new position. Now, as the primary Designated Hitter for Texas, Young collected two infield hits on Sunday to secure his membership in the 2,000 hit club in his 1,621st game, which have all been with the Rangers.
Uggla turns season around with 28-game hitting streak.
Dan Uggla, who was traded in the off-season from the Marlins to the Braves, has struggled for most of 2011 after signing a 5-year/$80 million contract with Atlanta. However, over the last month, Uggla has finally caught fire with a 28-game hitting streak, one of the longest streaks in Atlanta franchise history. He has raised his average to .220, along with 24 home runs and 55 RBI. Despite his extremely low batting average, Uggla is on pace to have his 6th straight 30 home run season, unheard of for 2nd basemen.